Last week, we brought you inside Santa Maria Juvenile Hall to meet S.D, a 17-year-old awaiting sentencing for a violent crime committed with a group of older boys when he was 14. S.D was facing 60 years to life, now he has taken a deal of “juvie life” which means he will stay in the California Youth Authority until the age of 25. To get the deal S.D had to testify against multiple other members of his gang, which has put him at serious risk even inside the juvenile hall…
A couple days after talking to S.D at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall Richard met with his mom who lives in Santa Maria and tries to maintain a normal life in spite of the rocky years she had with her son leading up to the arrest– from camping out in the ‘hood … Read More »
[This is the fourth in a series of posts on Santa Maria Juvenile Hall in Santa Maria, California.]
They told I am gang affiliated. I’m in 12th grade, a senior. I graduate in 2 weeks. But I still have the rest of my time, I should be out in May. I was sentenced to two years orange [adult] when I first came in on Prop 21 charges [California Proposition 21 - was a proposition proposed and passed in 2000 that increased a variety of criminal penalties for crimes committed by youth and incorporated many youth offenders into the adult criminal justice system]. Then the charges were dropped to juvie. I can get out on probation when I am 18… but it tough to do it right because I can get 15 years confinement if I mess up. It is hard to … Read More »
[This is the second in a series of posts on Santa Maria Juvenile Hall in Santa Maria, California.]
S.D was the youngest of a group of boys who committed a violent crime together. He was 14 years old. Now, several of the others, his co-defendants, have been tried and sentenced. One was sentenced to juvenile life, which remands him to California Youth Authority until the age of 23. S.D, now 17 is facing a sentence of 50 years to life. If it seems a bit unbalanced, it is. It is not unusual for the youngest or least culpable person involved in a crime to receive the harshest sentence. Learn more about this disappointing phenomenon of the justice system in an article from the New York Times: “Less Culpable, But With Longer Sentences.”
Richard Ross spoke with S.D at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall … Read More »
Late last year we received an email from Cheryle Abul-Husn of Whiting, Indiana that said, with devastating simplicity: “I would like to tell you the story of my grandson, arrested at 15, serving a 60-year sentence for a murder he did not commit.” Cheryle’s grandson Martin Anthony Villalon Jr., who goes by Anthony, currently resides in the Wabash Correctional Facility in Indiana. He is 20 years old. In conversations with Cheryle she would tell me, “I used to believe in the system too.” Now she has a hard time forgiving herself for that confidence. Anthony’s case was riddled with issues: the DNA recovered from the scene didn’t match his, the jury selection was inappropriate, and in the end he was convicted based on conflicting eye-witness testimony from confirmed gang-members. The Innocence Project, which to date has exonerated 305 persons from … Read More »
Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility is an all-female facility in Albany, Oregon. The only one in the state. Last month Richard Ross spent 12+ hours talking, photographing, and recording the people who live and work at Oak Creek. The following post focuses on two perspectives: K.X, a young woman in insolation at Oak Creek and Mike Riggan, the superintendent of Oak Creek…[See all blog posts on Oak Creek HERE]
“I’m in isolation at Birch. [During the day] you can’t lay down, gotta sit up. If they see you laying down they take away your mattress.”
I started doing a lot of stuff when my sister left: snorting powder, popping pills… I thought I was grown.”
– K.X, age 19.
“We do have good staff here. K.X, the girl in isolation, unfortunately, chose to assault another youth and … Read More »
I got this tattoo last month, “Always and forever.” No, I didn’t realize the “and” sign is backwards! I’ve been here 2 weeks.
I was a GangBanger. My Mother is in the Police Academy and lives with her girl friend. My dad died. I have an uncle who was in prison for a while. No big deal.